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Former Sun Devil Trevor Williams making the most out of baseball

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Making it to the big leagues — that’s every ball player’s goal, right?

Well, for former Arizona State and current Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams, his dreams extended further than the baseball diamond.

“I owed it to my family to complete my degree,” Williams told ASU. “They were all encouraging me; they’ve been in my corner since I got drafted. It was always a priority of mine to finish school and not just put it on the back burner.”

For an MLB player, college classes can be some of the last things on your mind.

Knowing he wanted to make that jump to the next level, Williams went to work in his short time at ASU. He completed almost all of his credit requirements to graduate with a history degree during his sophomore year.

The last tackle? Spanish.

After a few years break to take care of his career on the mound, Williams took his last final.

“It’s a good feeling. Every offseason I said ‘I need to start my last class and finally I followed through and did it,'” Williams said. “It’s cool. I am proud to be a Sun Devil and proud to be a college graduate.”

But while the big leaguer is showing his stuff in MLB — he’s gone 4-3 with a 1.88 ERA in his last seven starts — Williams is also focusing on giving back to something that’s close to him personally.

In honor of his friend and former teammate Cory Hahn, the two launched Project 34, a charity to aid those who live with spinal cord injuries, on March 4.

Just three games into his college career at ASU, Hahn, who wore No. 34, suffered a devastating spinal cord injury while trying to steal second base against New Mexico in 2011 — an injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

“I always had this idea and this goal to want to be able to give back and I had shared it with Trevor,” Hahn said of Project 34. “That was over the course of years, and he wanted to be able to give back to society and wanted to make it a better place.”

The cause also brings Pittsburgh residents who have spinal cord injuries to the Pirates’ ballpark for a pregame experience on the field and a suite to watch the game.

Williams, who dons the No. 34 jersey as a Pirate, has helped widen the reach of the charity.

“It’s very humbling. It helps me understand that nobody is bigger than the game,” Williams said. “When you are playing for a reason other than personal success, it makes baseball a lot more fun and a lot more meaningful.

“I am very proud to wear No. 34 every time I put on a uniform. Cory’s injury reminded me that I am not going to be playing this game forever and while I have this jersey I can honor him.”

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